Artist Spotlight: Grand Junction potter mixes function with funky art | PostIndependent.com
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Artist Spotlight: Grand Junction potter mixes function with funky art

Caitlin Row
crow@gjfreepress.com
Functional art pieces like these are on display at Rye Gallery in Fruita through the end of December. Grand Junction artist Matthew Bennett aims to make pottery that is both beautiful and useful.
Caitlin Row / crow@gjfreepress.com | Free Press

GO&DO

WHAT: Rye Gallery’s Fourth Friday opening of “Bottles & Jugs”

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Fri., Nov. 22

WHERE: Rye Gallery, 201 E. Aspen St., Fruita

COST: Free

INFO: http://www.facebook.com/RyeGallery

Editor’s note: The “Artist Spotlight” will be a monthly series, featuring Grand Valley artists, their work and creative process. Want to nominate a local artist who’s creating some really exciting art? Email crow@gjfreepress.com.

Inspiration for art doesn’t have to be as big as God or love. For Grand Junction potter and sculptor Matthew Bennett’s creations, he looks to “everyday life” to spur his imagination.

Much of his work is functional, too. He makes the exclusive beer mugs for sale at Palisade Brewing Company, and a variety of his bottles and jugs will be displayed at Fruita’s Rye Gallery now through the end of December.

According to 43-year-old Bennett, he prefers classic looks when creating items seen in his “Bottles & Jugs” show, kicking off this Friday, Nov. 22, from 6-9 p.m. For instance, the liquor crock he makes looks much like the ones that would have been “a hot commodity in trading towns” way back when. He also produces the classic bottle shape, as well as “genie” bottles. All items at the show are for sale, prices range from $30-$130.

“My biggest focus all the time is craftsmanship,” he explained. “If you take time at every step of the process, it ensures a finished product that is both attractive and serves a purpose.”

When Bennett isn’t making pottery, he also produces sculpture (edgy pieces, fun animals, etc.), which he shows at the Raw Canvas Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery, 507 Main St. in Grand Junction.

“Creation is the cool thing,” he said. “I’m enjoying it in my adult life, and I’m getting to the point where I can see something in my head and functionally create it.”

Bennett’s work is produced at the aptly named Bennett Art Studios and Gallery, a space he shares with his wife and fellow artist, Heather Bennett.

“We graduated about the same time” from Colorado Mesa University, both with Bachelor’s degrees in Fine Arts, he said. “We built a studio on our property,” and more recently, “we built a showroom.”

Both Bennett’s art work, spanning functional and decorative, will be on display in their showroom — 2555 I Road, Grand Junction — for a Christmas sale on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It will be a really good place to get a handmade gift,” Bennett said.

To see more of Bennett’s work, visit http://www.bennettartstudios.com.


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